Basic history facts:
• In 1579, Sir Francis Drake landed a few miles north of the Golden Gate, but apparently the fog shrouded the area to the south, preventing him from discovering the Bay or claiming the surrounding territory.
• About 200 years later, Don Juan Manuel Ayala established a mission and a town in San Francisco.
• Even by 1846, San Francisco remained a small town, with only about 800 inhabitants. The number one occupation at that time was raising livestock. It was not until 1849, a year after gold was discovered at Sutter's mill, that the town boomed, as 40,000 gold prospectors flooded the area. The gold rush peaked in 1852.
• In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire occurs, killing 452 people and destroying 28,000 buildings.
• In 1920, the first transcontinental airmail route is established between New York City and San Francisco.
• In 1969, 78 Native Americans seize Alcatraz Island, demanding it be made into a cultural center; 19 months later they leave.
• On October 17, 1989, San Francisco suffered the Loma Prieta earthquake, the second most powerful in U.S. history, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, which killed 67 people, left 48,000 people homeless, and resulted in $10 billion of property damage.

San Francisco is famous for its hills and the streets which run straight up and down them. Three of San Francisco's notable hills are Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and Telegraph Hill, all of which located in or near the downtown area. Not to be missed are the beautiful homes and area of the city known as Pacific Heights. San Francisco is also famous for its cable cars (narrow gauge, 1067 mm (3'6")), which were designed to carry residents up those steep hills. It is still possible to take a cable car ride up and down Nob and Russian Hills. San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile United States National Monument. Coit Tower, a notable landmark dedicated to San Francisco's firefighters, is located at the top of Telegraph Hill.

CULTURE:

• San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Art began in 1935, and was the first Museum of its kind, on the West Coast, to strictly showcase art from the twentieth century. The name was changed to the Museum of Modern Art in 1975 to reflect it current ideals, of only displaying the finest in the "Modern" style. The Museum grew, and eventually opened the doors to its glorious modern brick facility in January 1995. The SFMOMA building was designed by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta and heralded and a combination of color, form and function.

• San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco is a city that loves music. The dust of the 1906 earthquake had hardly cleared before a group of civic leaders had laid the groundwork for a new orchestra. Five years later, the San Francisco Symphony was born. Since those first concerts in 1911, the SFS has played a defining role in American cultural life. Today, it's defining what the orchestra of the 21st century will be.

• San Francisco Chamber Orchestra
The mission of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra is to bring the immediacy and intimacy of music for small orchestra and chamber ensemble to audiences of all ages by presenting classical, contemporary, and commissioned works as well as to educate and enlighten the next generation of music lovers through outreach programs.

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